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Average Fantasy Points
Average Fantasy Points are determined when Kobe Bryant was active vs. non-active during the season. Click here to view average fantasy points for a different time period.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Another season finished, another season-ending injury for Bryant, who has now failed to finish his last three NBA campaigns. Bryant underwent surgery for a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder in January, and at the time, his prognosis was for a nine month recovery period. In the 35 games he played last season, Bryant played 35 minutes per contest, but that number will surely be lower this season as he eases back into the lineup, along with the Lakers' improved depth at guard. Fantasy-wise, Bryant was productive last season, averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 1.5 three-pointers, but was quite inefficient, hitting just 37 percent of his field goal attempts, including 29 percent of his shots from deep. His elite free-throw shooting remained stellar, hitting 81 percent of his shots from the line, but the fact that Bryant had a true shooting percentage of less than 50 percent for the first time in his career is worrying as he enters his 20th season in the league. With the Lakers drafting guard D'Angelo Russell with the second pick and also having All-Rookie guard Jrdan Clarkson back, Bryant's role may be changed a little as he slides up a position and likely starts at small forward.
Kobe Bryant is looking to bounce back from two serious leg injuries in his 19th NBA season. Last season, in his return from a torn left Achilles tendon suffered in April 2013, Bryant lasted just six games before succumbing to a fractured lateral tibial plateau in the same leg. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 0.5 three-pointers in 30 minutes per game. Bryant shot 43 percent from the field on 12.2 attempts and 86 percent from the line on 3.5 attempts. His subpar showing can be attributed to him shaking off the rust after a long layoff, but after missing so much time, how he returns this season is somewhat of a mystery. He'll be returning to the lineup under a new coach, his former teammate, Byron Scott. The last time Bryant was fully healthy, in 2012-13, he was an elite fantasy option, averaging 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in 39 minutes per game. He'll be the number one option on the Lakers when he hits the court next season. His PER (player efficiency rating) of 10.7 last season broke a streak of 14 straight seasons with a PER over 20. For as much of the ball-stopper Kobe has been portrayed to be over the course of his career, he has always been a great source of assists for a shooting guard in fantasy leagues, averaging at least 4.5 assists every season since 1998-99.
Although Bryant's strained relationship with Dwight Howard, along with his possible role in the ouster of coach Mike Brown and his Princeton offense after just five games, garnered most of the headlines in a disappointing 2012-13 campaign for the Lakers, it obscured what was another exceptional season for the team's franchise player. With injuries decimating the roster throughout the season, Bryant was one of the few constants that held things together, suiting up for 78 games and averaging 27.3 points, a career-best 6.0 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game, all while shooting 46 percent from the field. As his supporting cast gradually got healthier, the Lakers actually resembled something of a dangerous team toward the end of the regular season, until disaster struck in Game 80 against the Warriors. After playing 40 minutes in seven consecutive games, Bryant ruptured his left Achilles' tendon, ending his season and resulting in a six-to-nine month recovery timetable. The injury has left him fighting to get healthy in time for Opening Night, but Bryant's lack of setbacks in his rehab – as well as his unparalleled competitiveness – make it difficult to bet against him. Even if he manages to suit up for the opener, Bryant, now 35, will likely see his minutes capped in the early going and will also have to adjust to a less talented collection of teammates around him with Howard and Metta World Peace departing in the offseason and Pau Gasol's (knee) health in question. Still, if anyone can overcome such obstacles and remain one of the elite fantasy options at his position, it's the Black Mamba.
Despite dealing with a wrist injury, a broken nose, and shin soreness at various points throughout the season, Bryant still appeared in 58 of 66 games while producing a small uptick in his numbers in 2011-12. His playing time climbed nearly five minutes per game, allowing him to post 27.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, averages he hadn’t reached in the same season since 2007-08. Unfortunately for Bryant, the Lakers fell short of their goals as a team, bowing out in the second round to the Thunder. While Bryant spent his offseason playing with Team USA in the Summer Olympics, general manager Mitch Kupchak revamped Bryant’s supporting cast, adding Steve Nash via free agency and Dwight Howard in a trade that sent Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. The acquisitions make the Lakers formidable on paper, but the confluence of talent figures to result in a diminished role for Bryant this season. Nash has traditionally thrived with the ball in his hands while flanked by an array of spot-up shooters, a profile that Bryant might not necessarily fit, as shown by his mediocre 33.9 percent career three-point shooting mark. Furthermore, the formidable frontcourt of Howard and Pau Gasol should get its fair share of shots as well, meaning Bryant’s 23 field goal attempts per game are all but guaranteed to fall. In the end, the hyper-competitive Bryant will likely remain the go-to guy during crunch time but should surrender some production in deference to the collection of talent surrounding him.
Bryant will be 33 entering this season, and the Lakers were already taking precautions with him last year. Although his stats stayed close to his career averages, Bryant saw his minutes dramatically decrease – he played 39 minutes per game in the 2009-10 season, but just 34 per game last season. Bryant also underwent a minor experimental procedure in Germany this offseason to try and alleviate the persistent arthritis in his right knee, but that didn’t keep him sidelined long. In July, he participated in an exhibition game in the Philippines that featured several of the NBA’s most prominent names. Bryant will be also be playing under a new head coach this season, so his production will depend somewhat on how Mike Brown plans to utilize him in the team’s offense. Regardless, it’s almost certain Bryant’s best days – in real life and fantasy – are behind him.
Each of the last two or three years, Bryant has entered the season as the sort of player who could very easily be overrated in fantasy circles. Consider: he turned 30 before the 2008-09 season in a sport where the peak age is somewhere around 25-28; he's been – perhaps because of his age – more prone to injury, like the finger, back, ankle, and knee injuries he suffered last season alone; he's been progressively surrounded by more talent – Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest – in need of more touches; he's won a couple of championships (sans Shaq), which could artificially inflate his stock; and, more anecdotally, he's been the focus of an inordinate amount of media attention, which has only served to solidify his status as an NBA legend-in-the-making. And yet, for all this, Bryant managed to turn in a top-10 fantasy line last year. Mind you, it wasn't a crazy season like his 2005-06, which saw him average 35 points and two three-pointers per game – those days are gone – but, by most formats, he was the second-best shooting guard, behind only Dwyane Wade. Can we expect the same in 2010-11? Well, there are reasons to think so. For one, the shooting guard position remains the shallowest in fantasy, with the likes of Joe Johnson, Brandon Roy and Manu Ginobili failing to surpass the Laker. And for two, with the addition of LeBron and Bosh in Miami, even Wade himself might not be quite as productive this season.
You might not notice it with Bryant currently sitting atop the basketball world, fresh off his fourth NBA Championship, but Kobe’s fantasy stock is slowly but surely on the decline. With the Lakers absolutely stacked with offensive weapons ranging from Pau Gasol to Lamar Odom to newly acquired Ron Artest, Bryant is being relied less and less in the regular season when fantasy owners need him to come through. He still held off Dirk Nowitzki last season to finish fifth in per-game value, but saw his minutes, points, rebounds, assists, steals and three-pointers made fall to the lowest they have been in several years. Kobe is typically renowned for his ability to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line, but he has become more and more of a jump shooter as he has gotten older. Last season’s average of 6.9 free-throw attempts per game marked his lowest mark since the 1999-2000 season. With his free-throw percentage impact falling behind the likes of Kevin Durant and Danny Granger, his status as a top-5 pick is in jeopardy this season.
Bryant piled up the accolades over the past year, from the NBA Most Valuable Player award to an Olympic gold medal. Despite all of that, Bryant enters next season with a chip on his shoulder, ready to prove wrong all of the critics that became vocal when the Lakers bowed out to the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Bryant did not lead the league in scoring last season for the first time since 2005, but he remained a nightly 30-point/5-rebound/5-assist threat that dominates free-throw percentage (84% FT on 9.0 attempts/game) and also adds almost two threes and two steals per game. Bryant’s splits remained rock solid whether he was playing next to Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol, but this season he will be playing next to both which could cut slightly into his scoring but should give him more assist opportunities. He is still taller, quicker, bigger, and/or jumps higher than almost all of his competition, and when you add in his ridiculous skill level and ultra competitive mindset you come up with the number one shooting guard – perhaps even the number one player over all – in basketball.
Any conversation about the best player in the NBA has to include Kobe Bryant. He’s taller, stronger, quicker and faster than just about anyone who might try to cover him, and has skill and smarts to go with his physical gifts. Bryant averaged 32.8 ppg last season – a number made more impressive by the fact that he was slowed by his recovery from knee surgery for the first half of the season. His post All Star Break scoring average was 36.7 – including an otherworldly stretch in March in which he averaged 40.4 ppg. The only thing that might prevent Kobe from top overall fantasy player status is Kobe himself. His conflict with Laker management remains unresolved, and there’s an outside chance that he’ll do something to try to force a trade – like hold out. That situation bears close monitoring – even the mighty Kobe can’t help you if he’s not on the floor.
Bryant is coming off one of the most dynamic offensive seasons in NBA history, with his 35.4 ppg the best since Michael Jordan was in his prime. Bryant electrified the league by twice scoring more than 60 points through three quarters of a game, including the famous 81-point explosion (2nd in NBA history) against the Raptors. Kobe attempted a whopping 27.2 shots and 10.2 free throws per game, but shot a respectable 45% from the field and an excellent 85% from the line to help in both categories. The tradeoff to Bryant’s scoring binge was eight-year lows in assists (4.5 apg) and rebounds (5.3 apg), though each of those were still more than respectable from the shooting guard position. Bryant was also ninth in the NBA in steals (1.8 spg) and knocked down a career-high 2.3 three-pointers pergame (fifth in NBA). Kobe’s combination of size, strength, speed, and killer instinct in conjunction with an offense that allows him to take an absurd 34% of the team’s shots should allow him to post dominant fantasy contributions again this season.
Bryant is the prototype for an NBA shooting guard. A lightning quick 6-6, 220, Bryant is taller, bigger, faster or jumps higher than anyone that attempts to guard him…often all four in combination. Already a dynamic scorer (27.14 ppg since 2000), Bryant has become a major threat from 3-point range (2.0 3s/game). Bryant is strong in almost every fantasy category, ranking among the shooting guard leaders in rebounds (5.9 per game), assists (6.0 per game), steals (1.3 per game), and even blocked shots (.8 per game). He gets to the line often at 10.1 attempts/game, shooting 81.6%, so he has a major positive impact on free throw percentage as well. With Phil Jackson back as the Lakers coach, and Shaq now residing in Miami, Bryant will be the centerpiece of the triangle offense and has the chance to put up another fantasy MVP-worthy season.
Now that the Lakers have parted ways with Shaquille O'Neal and coach Phil Jackson this offseason, Bryant finally gets the opportunity for which he has long been yearning: to be the absolute focal point of the team's offense. Considering that Bryant was a top fantasy producer even with the restrictions of the triangle offense and the presence of O'Neal, who required his share of touches, Bryant should explode now that the "shackles" - no pun intended - are finally off. Look for Bryant to produce career bests in threes and points, while maintaining impressive numbers in rebounds, assists and steals. In fact, we fully expect Bryant to average more than 30 points per game en route to an NBA scoring title. He’s definitely a top-5 pick and might be the first player off the board after Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.
Assuming Bryant's legal woes don't keep him off the court, he will continue to be the dominant player that he is. While his off-court issues might hurt his focus a little, Bryant has shown before that he can overcome adversity. Expect around 28 points a game, two steals, six rebounds, five assists, and about a half a block.
More Fantasy News
Bryant scored a team-high 35 points (10-22 FG, 11-11 FT, 4-11 3Pt) to go along with two rebounds, two steals, and an assist in just 27 minutes during Sunday's loss to the Rockets.